Geneq’s SXBlue line of Bluetooth receivers gives users plenty of options to meet the needs of their projects. With ten different models and more on the way, the line’s versatility can assist in applications from agriculture to mining to environmental.
GPS receivers calculate latitude and longitude readings that are stored using data logging software on a mobile device. SXBlue receivers transmit GPS coordinates every second (or even 20 times a second if needed), and are designed as standalone units.
“That’s the beauty of the SXBlue line. You can link it to a smartphone, tablet or computer. It doesn’t care – it’s just a bluetooth device,” said Jean-Yves Lauture, product engineer at Geneq.
Lauture says that capability is a significant advantage over other GPS receivers which are integrated inside of handheld devices, because SXBlue receivers can work with any operating system (OS) such as Android, iOS (Apple) and Windows. With an integrated “all-in-one” handheld GPS, you are stuck only using the OS in the device, typically Windows. So providing them more flexibility is key and goes hand-in-hand with the line’s versatility. There is a receiver for almost any application.
The accuracy of the SXBlue receiver models range from 2 feet down to 1 centimeter depending on the model. All accuracies are provided to the user in real-time in the field, unlike legacy surveying GPS receivers which required data to be post-processed.
SXBlue receivers can be used for a wide variety of surveying and mapping purposes; from mapping culverts to wetland areas, manhole covers, and golf course sprinkler heads. Lauture says the receivers are also used in many agricultural applications, including automated crop planting. SXBlue receivers and other sensors wired into tractors can automatically steer the tractor and plant seeds as it drives back-and-forth through the field.
“When you’re planting with six-inch spacing, it’s really important to use high accuracy receivers,” said Lauture. With an SXBlue onboard, it’s possible for farmers to know when a seed is planted, its exact coordinates and where other seeds are planted nearby. As a result, farmers are one of the largest users of the GPS receivers, Lauture says.
Once the SXBlue receiver data is collected, it can be imported and plotted by many different brands of mapping and surveying software like Esri, Autodesk, Intergraph, MapInfo and others as well as standard file formats like shp, DXF, and ASCII.
Portland General Electric used SXBlue receivers to map its 200,000 electric utility poles.
“Technicians would drive up to the poles, record GPS coordinates and data such as cabinet types, number of wires, tree obstructions and note if another company is using it for wifi or other purpose,” said Lauture. “At the end of each day, they would email the data back to the central office where a GIS tech would QA the data and plot it.”
The checks are mostly redundant measures. The SXBlue line is simple – the devices transmit GPS coordinates, that’s it. All of the units are IP67 rated, and retain the waterproof rating even after batteries are changed.
Models with internal batteries – those with roman numerals in their names – come in composite construction and can expect a battery life of 8 to 15 hours, depending on the model. They use lithium ion batteries that can be recharged. SXBlue receivers without internal batteries are configured to draw power from vehicles they wire into and are constructed of aluminum. All models can be used with Geneq’s SXPad, a handheld computer running the Windows Mobile OS or almost any mobile device imaginable.
“The best feature of the SXBlue product line is its flexibility. It’s not limited to one data collector or to one operating system,” said Lauture. “Five years ago, you only really had one choice of operating system on a data collector – Windows. Now, organizations have a diverse line of mobile devices running several different operating systems. The SXBlue product line can interface with all of them.”